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Casey County first responder says communication problems continue despite repairs

Volunteer firefighter and chief of the Liberty-Casey County Rescue Squad Brandon Long says despite repairs to storm-damaged equipment, communication problems persist.
Kim Long
Volunteer firefighter and chief of the Liberty-Casey County Rescue Squad Brandon Long says despite repairs to storm-damaged equipment, communication problems persist.

A first responder in Casey County said communication problems that caused five outages from mid-January to mid-February have improved, but still pose a threat to them and the people they’re trying to help. Brandon Long is a volunteer firefighter and chief of the Liberty-Casey County rescue squad. He said part of the problem is there’s just one tower and one set of antennas to cover the entire county.

“You have high hills and low valleys. So we've always only had one tower for communications; our elected officials, our county officials, have never in 30 or 40 years ever took a step to move forward to add an additional tower.”

Long said officials with the county, and Bluegrass 911, which serves Casey and three other counties, have not given an estimate on the cost of improving the system. Long said handheld radios don’t work in at least 30 percent of the county, and county officials and those with Bluegrass 911 are passing the buck.

“Our county officials say that Bluegrass 911 has to write grants to get us money. Bluegrass says if they write grants, it's their money. Bluegrass blames it on Casey County, says Casey County must write grants to get money.”

Calls to Casey County’s judge-executive and the director of Bluegrass 911 Friday afternoon were not immediately returned.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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